Recent Blog Posts

  • Dial in Your S-Corp Strategy BEFORE Year-End
    When it comes to tax strategies for entrepreneurs, I am convinced that the S-Corporation (S-Corp) is one of the most powerful long-term strategies to build upon. The tax benefits, audit protection and foundation for other tax deductions are absolutely amazing in an S-Corp. Frankly, it’s because the S-Corp is so financially efficient for the small-business owner. So for those of you that are already S-Corps, this is the time of year to dial in your salary level. See my Payroll Matrix and suggestions on how to peg the perfect salary amount for your situation below. For those who haven’t quite caught the vision or potential of the S-Corp, let me make a few important points and explain some of the benefits you are missing out on. S-Corps: The Reason Why The problem we’re trying to solve is that if you sell products or services, receive a commission, flip properties or ... Read more
  • Why an HSA May Be Your Best Tax AND Healthcare Strategy

    One of the most under utilized tax strategies by small business owners is the use of a Health Savings Account (“HSA”).  It’s a fantastic tax savings strategy as well as a powerful tool to help pay for current and future health care costs. In my opinion, everyone should at least consider the HSA as an option when purchasing insurance.

    This year in 2018, then ‘Open Enrollment’ for a 2019 health insurance plan runs from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018. Outside the Open Enrollment Period, you generally can enroll in a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

    The reason why it’s so important to think about an HSA plan during Enrollment Period is that IF YOU DON’T choose the right plan NOW, you can’t take a deduction and contribute to an HSA in 2019. I don’t sell health insurance, but as a tax advisor i strongly encourage my clients to ... Read more

  • Deduct Your Holiday Business Travel and Dining the Smart Way with 2018 Update
    From my perspective, travel is one of the most underutilized tax deductions by small-business owners today. I try to make all of my travel a business write-off by following a few simple rules. Moreover, meals and travel can be a powerful write-off during the holidays and meetings with your Board of Directors/Advisors are not only a good tax deduction, but a powerful way to boost the success of your business. See this article here for more information on building your “Board”: https://markjkohler.com/setting-up-your-board-of-directors-or-advisors/. Remember a few key facts. Valid travel expenses are 100% deductible, meals discussing business are 50% deductible and if you are ‘traveling for business’, meals even by yourself are deductible. In 2018, entertainment expenses, whether or not you are traveling, were completely eliminated, but travel expenses are STILL 100%  deductible!! As for ‘travel’, the following are wonderful expenses, with a legitimate business purpose, are 100% deductible: ... Read more
  • What types of Donations are a tax write-off?
    This is certainly the season for giving and surprisingly there are a lot of options and rules to keep in mind. Now, first and foremost I don’t think there is anything wrong with seeking out a tax deduction when you give.  I hope that doesn’t offend any of you generous folks out there, but let’s face it…we all pay our fair share of taxes. Why can’t we get a little boost on our tax return for helping others in need during the year or even during the holidays? First, some basic rules when giving: Make sure you itemize- Now with the changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) and the increase of the standard deduction, your itemize deductions need to exceed $12,000 if your single and $24,000 if your married, in order to get any tax benefit for a donation. Meaning,This deduction is not available to individuals who choose ... Read more
  • Year-End Health Care Strategies for Small Business Owners
    Many entrepreneurs don’t realize it but as small-business owners we have more options to save on healthcare costs than any other group of Americans. The tax-planning and cost-saving strategies can be phenomenal. It simply takes a little bit of research and consulting with professionals to create the perfect plan for you. Here are important year-end healthcare savings and tax strategies to implement for every small business owner to consider. Keep in mind some of these deadlines relate to the December 15, Insurance Enrollment deadline, and other relate to the tax strategies that need to be in place before December 31st.  Review these carefully as they could help you save thousands of dollars when you build your plan of attack. Claim the health insurance deduction properly This is a huge benefit for small-business owners that cannot be taken advantage of by average Americans. Health insurance is 100% deductible for a small-business owner, whether you cover your other employees or ... Read more
  • What To Do During Difficult Personal Financial Times
    The older I get the more I realize the sun doesn’t always shine and everyone, I mean everyone, at one point is going to face difficult financial times.  It’s not if they are going to come, it’s when.  Now, one of the best ways we can prepare for these challenges is to expect them and have a rainy day fund, keep our debt to a minimum and be wise in our financial commitments. However, often times these difficult times sneak up on us when we are trying to hold a business together, or blindsided by a divorce, embezzlement or a unforeseen change in our industry or market.  These situations can occur quickly and before we know it we are living week to week financially trying to hold it together. On a regular basis, I have consultations with clients focused on surviving in the economy and could care less about tax ... Read more
  • The Tax Strategy of being a Real Estate Professional
    Those that follow my lectures and writings know that I recommend Americans consider buying one rental property a year. It could be full or partial ownership investing with a partner. It could be a single family home, commercial property, VRBO short-term rental or even a group of mobile homes. Why do I say this? Five primary reasons. Steady appreciation over the long-term Tax Deferred growth and capital gain treatment Tax free cash flow Mortgage reduction through renter’s payments Tax write-offs through business expenses and depreciation Now I realize rental property is not a perfect fit for everyone.  There are a lot of variables…your financial strength, credit worthiness, your temperament and time you have to manage property, and of course, it also depends on the season of your life. I encourage all of you to ‘at least’ consider buying one rental this year (in or outside of your retirement account) and ... Read more
  • Putting Your Children on Payroll
    This has to be one of the most under utilized tax strategies by small business owners with families today.  Many don’t realize that paying their children under age 18 is an excellent strategy to minimize their tax liability, not to mention it creates a host of other ancillary benefits. The days of the farm are continuing to disappear all across America and more and more children are leaving the home without work ethic, money management skills and a concept of entrepreneurship.  Moreover, many small business owners forget that some of their most affordable labor is right there in the house with them eating at the dinner table.  Get them involved in the business!! The beauty of the tax benefit is two fold, and something that can’t be over emphasized. Run the numbers and you’ll be amazed. First, when you pay your children under 18, you don’t have to withhold any ... Read more
  • Designing a Powerful Executive Summary for Your Business Plan
    The Executive Summary is the most important section of your Business Plan. It provides a concise overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company. This section tells the reader where your company is and where you want to take it. It’s also the first thing your readers see, therefore it will either grab their interest and make them want to read more or make them want to put it down and forget about it. More than anything else, this section is important because it tells the reader why you think your business idea will be successful! Some suggest the Executive Summary should be the last section you write after you’ve worked out all the details of your plan. The reason is that you will be in a better position to summarize your business concept after researching and writing all of the other sections. It’s interesting that ... Read more
  • LLCs must do Annual Maintenance just like Corporations
    Please forgive me for being so bold, but I am getting tired of people telling me “I don’t have to do annual maintenance for my LLC because it’s not required” and “My one page Articles of Organization from the State is all I need” – Wrong! There are more and more cases of where the Limited Liability Company (LLC) is “pierced” in a lawsuit and the owner’s personal assets are grabbed by a plaintiff. The reason why…owners are not doing their annual maintenance. Now it doesn’t have to be expensive, it can actually be easy.  It can also: Increase your audit protection with the IRS Get you more tax write-offs Help you create a Board of Advisors for support Better build your business and increase sales And of course, give you the asset protection you THINK you have! I have been shouting from the rooftops for years, but it doesn’t ... Read more
  • The Truth about Umbrella Insurance
    First, you need to know I don’t sell insurance. This is important, because 99% of the articles on the web regarding umbrella insurance have some interest in selling it or at least making insurance companies look good. Seriously, I search for almost an hour and couldn’t find ONE article that talked about ANY problems or drawbacks of umbrella insurance (just to see what was already out there). Seriously!? Of course, what should I expect it’s not surprising that EVERY Wall Street owned media machine isn’t going to say anything bad about Umbrella insurance and they’ll do everything they can to dominate Google search. We’ll see if this article makes a dent. Where am I coming from? As an attorney, CPA, and small business advisor I have nothing to financially gain by selling you insurance and telling you what I really think. I’m an advocate for my clients to save money, ... Read more
  • The Auto Deduction in 2018 – Mileage or Actual?
    First and foremost, remember the auto deduction isn’t travel, but expenses for your car, truck or SUV. Also, remember this includes ALL your vehicles as long as they have some sort of business use, i.e. an RV, van, delivery truck or motorcycle used in your business (more articles to come)! Next, the law has changed in 2018 – Big time!! Things got a lot better for business owners with cars/autos…if not AT LEAST you have a lot more options. You can actually write-off a vehicle at lot faster and with bigger deductions! Also, if you are also considering an SUV or Truck as your business vehicle, it’s a whole other set of rules or analysis. You NEED to read “The SUV and Truck Deduction in 2018 – An Unexpected Loophole” There are TWO MAIN OPTIONS to write off auto expenses and it all starts here!! Mileage. On ANY of your ... Read more
  • Maximizing the Home Office Deduction
    The Home Office Deduction is still alive and well…don’t let any accountant tell you otherwise. There are several strategies on how to maximize the Home Office Deduction. It is NOT high risk and every good business owners should take advantage of a home office write-off. The Myth Before I get into the requirements and your options for deducting the home office, keep in mind that I’m sick and tired of hearing new clients and students of mine explain that their personal accountant is ‘afraid’ to take this deduction and explain it’s ‘high risk’.  That simply isn’t true.  As long as you are entitled to take it, aren’t too aggressive, and take use the proper method/strategy there is nothing to worry about.  Even if you are audited, you shouldn’t shy away from taking a deduction when you are legally able to do so. FIRST:  The Requirements to Claim the Deduction Before ... Read more
  • Plan Your Travel for a Tax Write-Off
    In my opinion, travel is one of the most underutilized tax deductions by small business owners today!! Making sure our travel has a ‘business purpose’ is critical and a perfect opportunity for business owners for a great tax write-off. In fact, even properly planned holiday travel can potentially generate significant tax deductions while we are visiting family or going to our special/romantic locations around the U.S. and the world. Even if we gain a few pounds, we might shed a few tax dollars. Unlike meals and entertainment, which are limited by 50%, travel expenses are 100% deductible. These include airfare, hotel, rental cars, valet, taxi, trains, tolls, etc. You would be shocked to know how many new clients’ tax returns come across my desk every year with literally zero travel deductions. Consider the 5 following ideas that you might be able to coordinate with or plan ‘in and around’ your ... Read more
  • What is a Registered Agent
    What in the world is a Registered Agent? When you first hear this term, if you are like me, your mind goes straight to Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, or the ever famous Bond, James Bond. Sadly, I have the cruel task of explaining to clients that, while creating a new entity is pretty cool, you don’t get to join an exclusive interstate spy ring when you choose to incorporate your business. So, if a registered agent isn’t an international man of mystery, what is it? How lawsuits work and the need for a Registered Agent To explain the role and purpose of a Registered Agent (or “R.A.”), we need to first understand how lawsuits work in the United States. To initiate any lawsuit, “process” (papers used to put a Defendant on notice of a pending lawsuit) has to be served on a Defendant personally. A Plaintiff generally will hire the ... Read more